In the wake of the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on same-sex marriage, Gov. Scott Walker, who seemed for a while to have accepted marriage equality in Wisconsin as the law so let’s move on, shifted ground and joined Ted Cruz in endorsing a constitutional amendment that would stop federal judges from finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
“My hope is that the U.S. Supreme Court will [not rule in favor of same-sex marriage],” Walker said. “If they don’t, the only other viable option out there is to support a constitutional amendment which I would [support] believing not just in marriage being defined as one man, one woman, but I also believe in states rights. I believe that is an issue that appropriately belongs in the states.”
Endorsing amending the U.S. Constitution to stop marriage equality will put Walker beyond the political pale for center-right, libertarian-leaning Republicans and independents, without whom no Republican can win the general election. It’s not just morally wrong, it’s bad politics.
Progressives, however, are also expressing opprobrium toward Jeb Bush for noting concern that same-sex marriage might lead to forcing conservative clergy to perform same-sex marriages. Bush’s fear, dismissed flippantly by his critics, would have less credence if they hadn’t already been justified by a highly publicized instance of liberal officials trying to do this in the name of anti-discrimination (arguing that if ordained clergy run a wedding chapel instead of a church, they are subordinate to the state). That case fell apart, but not for want of trying.
And there was also this exchange during last week’s Supreme Court oral arguments, in which U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli suggested that a private, religiously affiliated college could lose it’s tax-exempt status for not supporting same-sex marriage:
JUSTICE ALITO: Well,in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax¬exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?
GENERALVERRILLI: You know, I — I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I — I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is — it is going to be an issue.
As the Washington Blade reported, Bush also alluded to the cases of religiously conservative florists, caterers, and bakers being prosecuted for declining to provide services to same-sex weddings:
for Bush, finding “common ground” between opponents of same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian people seeking to marry is key. I think a country as open and big and tolerant and as this country ought to be able to find common ground on both of those fronts,” Bush said.
But the zealots of left and right won’t have any part of that.
More. From our comments, “Mary” writes, pertinently:
In all fairness, if 10 years ago someone had said that equal rights for gays would lead to a photographer being sued for not wanting to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony wouldn’t you have called this a scare tactic? And when people argued that bakers, florists, and reception hall owners would have to cater to gay weddings or be sued for discrimination because “equal means equal” wasn’t it said that no one would be forced to have anything to do with gay weddings if they didn’t want to?
So why should we assume that tax exemption would never be removed from churches that don’t marry gay couples? Although I support SSM now, I do believe we need specific laws to protect religious freedom.
Indeed. And Hubert Humphrey famously said “I’ll eat my hat if this [the Civil Rights Act] leads to racial quotas.” One can today argue the merits of affirmative action race-based preferences and quotas, but they certainly did come about (with hard quotas, at least, subsequently scaled back by Supreme Court rulings).